help with all inclusive resort

Jul 13th, 2006, 07:36 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 89
help with all inclusive resort

i am looking and found a deal at couples san souci, couples ocho rios, or secrets excellence in punta cana, DR. does anyone have an opinion on either of these resorts? we are going in october. would love feedback, even on one in mexico if there is one.
thanks for your time!!
mrsdarwin is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 07:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 69
mrsdarwin,
Of the resorts you listed, we've been to Sans Souci twice (back when it was a Grand Lido) & to Secrets Excellence Punta Cana twice. They're both great resorts !!

Sans Souci (formerly a Grand Lido property & now a Couples) is a gorgeous property. The resort goes from beach level way up to top-of-a-cliff level & the views & foliage are just beautiful. The AN area here is very nice & totally secluded from the rest of the resort -- there is nice pool, a hottub, bar/swim-up bar, grill & bathrooms. We would return to Sans Souci w/ no hesitation !!

SEPC has a fantastic beach !! It's reallllly long & has tons of palm trees along it. The water can be a bit rough right there & it's not that pretty turquiose colored water you see in Playa or Cancun, but it's still very nice. Service was very good here & the food ranged from good to pretty good, but not spectacular. We would also have no hesitation about returning here.


I have a 1.5 page MS Word summary of all the All Inclusive resorts we've been to (including some in Mexico). I'll try to copy/paste it here...


We've been to AI resorts 18 times, but we've actually had a few repeats in there !! All of these except the Iberostar are Adults Only. OK, here goes:

Couples Swept Away (May 2006)
Couples Negril (Jan 2006)
Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancun (Jan 2005)
Secrets Capri (May 2004)
Secrets Excellence Punta Cana (Jan 2004 & May 2005)
Grand Lido Braco (Jan 2002, Aug 2004, Aug 2005 & upcoming Aug 2006)
Grand Lido Negril (Jan 2000 & Aug 2003)
Sans Souci Resort (when it was Grand Lido) (Jan 2001 & Aug 2002)
Aventura Spa Palace (May 2003)
Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal (May 2002)
Sandals St. Lucia (Nov 1998 -- 1st week of honeymoon)
Sandals Grande St. Lucian (Jan 2003)
Breezes Bahamas (May 1999)

It’s hard to pick an overall favorite of all of those – I guess if I had to, Secrets Capri or Couples Swept Away would win !!

We definitely did not like Breezes Bahamas, but you get what you pay for (lesson learned !! ). We thought the food was mediocre & the rooms were pretty basic. The beach was nice. The service was probably the worst we’ve ever had on a vacation.

We loved St. Lucia (the island scenery is just stunning), but we would probably not return to a Sandals resort (the properties were very nice, but didn't like the atmosphere). Also, w/ St. Lucia, both times we went were during the 'dry' season & still got plenty of rain (it's a beautiful rainforest island, hence lots of rain to keep it green !! ). At Sandals resorts, only certain room levels offer room service & mini-fridges in the room.

We love the Grand Lido resorts (enough to have booked our 8th Grand Lido trip for Aug 2006 !!). We use the clothing optional/au natural facilities there (GLB’s AN area is awesome, w/ a HUGE pool, 2 hottubs, a bar/swim-up bar & a 24 hour clubhouse w/ a bar, food service & a pool table. The food is very good at both resorts. All of the rooms now have stocked mini-fridges.
Also, the textile sides of the Grand Lido resorts are very nice as well, w/ a separate pool & beach. All of the restaurants, shops, reception, etc… are on the textile side as well.

Sans Souci Resort (formerly a Grand Lido property & now a Couples) is a gorgeous property. The resort goes from beach level way up to top-of-a-cliff level & the views & foliage are just lovely. The AN area here is very nice & totally secluded from the rest of the resort -- there is nice pool, a hottub, bar/swim-up bar, grill & bathrooms. We would return to Sans Souci w/ no hesitation !!

Aventura Spa Palace was a great resort (though it is HUGE - approx 1200 rooms). The food there was very good (we thought the food here was better than Secrets Exc Riv Can), the rooms were nice enough (2 person jacuzzis in every room, stocked mini-fridges & liquor dispensers on the wall), & the pools were spotless. 24 hour room service is offered.

Iberostar Tucan was a beautiful property, w/ a jungle-like setting (tons of foliage & trees w/ paths meandering throughout). The food was pretty good & the rooms were nice. The beach is gorgeous here – white sand & gorgeous turquoise blue water. It's not Adults Only though, so we probably wouldn't return here any time soon.

Secrets Resorts: Overall, we really like the Secrets Resorts. Each of the 3 has their own positives & negatives. We thought that SC has the best food (of any resort we've ever been to); we liked our room at SERC the best; SEPC has the best beach (rough water, but a loonnnggg stretch of beach for walking, w/ tons of palm trees). They all offer 24 hour room service & they all have stocked mini-fridges in the room. Supposedly, Secrets is going to be building a resort in Jamaica & we'll definitely try that out (if it ever really happens !! ).

Couples Negril was a really nice resort. Theirs was probably the best service, overall, that we’ve had in Jamaica. The food was very good – (we prefer the food at Secrets Capri & the Grand Lidos over CN, though). All Couples have Continental Breakfast room service (6:30am-10am). The rooms were in need of some redecorating. The resort is beautifully landscaped, w/ tons of foliage everywhere – very tropical feel here !! The beach is great there (lots of nice white sand & tons of palms trees). The AN area on the beach is pretty small & not very secluded. There is a bar (but no blender for frozen drinks), a bathroom & a nice new 12 person hottub.

Couples Swept Away was a beautiful property, w/ tons of foliage. We liked the layout of the property, w/ the rooms being in several small buildings spread out over the whole resort (no big hotel-style bldgs here). The new pool/swim-up bar/ hottubs/grill area is a really nice setup. The beach here is gorgeous (probably the nicest we’ve stayed on besides in Playa del Carmen), w/ white sand & swimming-pool clear water !! And, since the resort faces west, the sunsets are stunning !! The food was very good here (we liked it a bit better than at CN (overall, we still like the food best at Secrets Capri & the Grand Lidos). Once again, the service here (as at CN) was definitely better than at the Grand Lido properties – most employees are friendly & accommodating. Our room (a 2nd floor Atrium room) was one of the best we’ve ever stayed in. There were dark wood shutters (w/ screen behind them) on all 4 walls & since we were on the 2nd floor, we had a vaulted, dark wood ceiling --- a very tropical feel !!

I also have pics of our vacations (the Sans Souci pics are in the 2 folders that start w/ "Grand Lido Sans Souci..."):
http://photos.yahoo.com/jmrperotto

Hope this helps (& sorry it's so long)!!
Jackie



JackieMRP is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 09:26 AM
  #3  
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 89
thanks Jackie. i am thinking of the SEPC. it is giving the best deal. is it very far away from the airport.is there a town anywhere near? or once you get to the resort you're there?? your report was very useful. thanks.
mrsdarwin is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 11:17 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 69
SEPC is about an hour from the airport -- not too bad of a drive (some potholes, but no more than lots of other islands we've been to).

SEPC really kind of stands alone. There is no town nearby & there are really no other hotels right next door. You can walk the beach in either direction for a ways before you get to another hotel. If you walk to the right, you'll get to the Sirenis hotel 1st, about a 15-20 min walk. If you walk to the left, you'll pass some shops (the vendors now come right down to you & try to talk you into buying their wares) & some homes.

A few nice things about Secrets: they offer 24 hour room service & all of the rooms have 2-person hottubs (& there's 24-hour Playboy channel as well !! ). The pools there were very nice & always spotless. There's a nice Sports Bar on the end of the property (that came in handy for us in May last yr when it POURED rain every day, all day) that has games, a few TVs, pool, archery, ping pong & a manned bar. For me, the highlight of the resort was really the fantastic stretch of beach.

Anyway, if you found a good deal for SERC, then I say go for it !!

Jackie
JackieMRP is offline  
Jul 27th, 2006, 05:51 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1
Jackie:

Your recommendations about AI resorts are extremely helpful. We probably will book Secrets Capri for some time in Dec. (excellent food being a priority with us). One question though: My wife was hoping to enjoy a beach where she is not the only one topless. Are many women topless at their beach?

mdarte
mdarte is offline  
Jul 27th, 2006, 06:56 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 69
mdarte,

Glad to help !! I love vacations & I love talking about them !!

There were some topless women on SC's beach (including myself !!) (I didn't see any around the pool). I'm sure it really just depends on the crowd that's there while you are. But, since it's Adults Only, then she should just de-top if that's what she wants to do. Heck, I've seen topless women taking walks along the beach down there (Playa area), so laying on the beach topless is no big deal !!

Secrets Capri was a fantastic resort (& it still gets great reviews) & we would love to go back again sometime !! Enjoy yourselves !!

Jackie
p.s. once we got to SC we upgraded to from a regular Deluxe Tropical View room (which had 2 double beds) to an Oceanfront Suite (king bed). The room was a little bit bigger, w/ a sitting area, & the view, straight out to the ocean, was great !!
JackieMRP is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 05:33 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 621
Jackie-
when you say you went to St. Lucia during the "dry" season, when was that?
mrsd2fan is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 09:30 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 69
mrsd2fan,
Well, the 1st time we went to St. Lucia (the last week of Nov 1998), was right at the official end of hurricane season, but we just didn't anticipate -that- much rain/clouds. The 2nd time was the 3rd week of January 2003. We actually had worse weather for our Jan trip than the Nov trip !! Friends of ours took their honeymoon in St Lucia in June 2005, & they had great weather just about all week. So...you just never know !!

Jackie
JackieMRP is offline  

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